Brewing in NYC

I'm glad I hadn't brewed with anyone else before I started. Brewing in this city isn't the easiest thing to do, and there are a number of factors to consider before jumping in.


A small collection of the shit you have to store

I'd love a Sienfeld size apartment, but even with rent control it's just a pipe dream. So making the most of space is incredibly important. For this reason, extract and partial mash brewing is a very common way for people to start out in this city. Even making 5 gallons at a time can be a bit much, so often times you'll find 1-3 gallon brewers.

When I started brewing I was lucky enough to have enough space that I could jump in with Partial Mash brewing at 5 gallons per batch. Over time, my gear has expanded greatly. I am now an all grain brewer with 10 cases of bottles, 5 kegs & that's only the beginning. It's important to note that everything I own (outside of the kegerator) fits in around 20² feet but reaches from floor to ceiling. It's taken a long time to nail this system down, and before my girlfriend insisted, the brewing shit was all over the apartment.

Point being: there isn't a garage, spare closet, or basement to hide this stuff in.


This is by far the hardest thing to deal with. Most brewers are able to hop in a car and drive to a brew supply store, throw the ingredients in the trunk, and drive home. Even if you're an online shopper, the ingredients are shipped directly to your doorstep and there for you when you arrive home. Let's run through a few scenarios of supply acquisition.

A) Order supplies online

I don't live in a building with a doorman, so all of my supplies have to be shipped to where I work. This is not ideal when placing a large order of anything. While my bosses don't mind the inconvenience, I don't like having to store stuff there and schlep it over the course of days. I've also been burned a few times by the dreaded dead yeast pack.

B) Going to Bitter & Esters

This is my local shop. It's located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Easily reachable by a 1 hour subway ride & 10 minute walk. It's getting everything home that's tricky. After spending 20-30 minutes pulling your recipe and talking with the employees for a bit, it's another 10 minute walk, and hour subway ride back. When you're carrying a keg or co2 canister + a recipe, it's fucking heavy. Also, subway patrons do not like seeing things that look like gas canisters. And to top it off, I've always accidentally managed to open up the co2 a little bit so there will be a slight hiss until I notice it. Cases of bottles are awkward to carry and on a packed train, inconvenient. The best way to get stuff home, is once again to make many trips over the course of time (and bringing a large backpack). Need 4 cases of bottles? That's 2-4 trips.

Packed Subway

Honestly I should just order online, but the desire to support a local business (and shipping cost) always makes me reconsider.


The final thing to consider is that many residents move almost yearly. At this age, an increase in rent which happens almost every year, prices me out of a neighborhood or apartment. Before I had kegs, this was a bigger problem. Now though, I am already planning a brewing schedule for November, knowing we'll likely have to move February 1st.

This article is my 17th oldest. It is 595 words long